Norwegian crime author Jo Nesbø earns $5.1 million in royalties from his books in 2019
The popularity of Nordic black can seems to fade after its heyday early 2010s but Norway’s best-selling author would disagree. Public tax information revealed that Jo Nesbø’s two companies brought in more than NOK 58 million ($6.5 million) in 2019, including NOK 45.5 million ($5.1 million) was classified as book royalties.
Nesbø has equity worth NOK 190 million ($21.5 million) in its two publishing-related companies alone, with additional stakes in other investment companies.
High-level summary figures from individual tax returns are common knowledge in Norway. While 2019 figures have yet to be released, Nesbø’s wealth was NOK 276 million ($31.1 million) in 2018. In addition to income tax, Norway levies an annual wealth tax of 0.85% on personal wealth over NOK 1.5 million ($169,000).
Harry Hole remains intensely popular
In addition to play in a band and writing Children’s books, Nesbø writes high-intensity crime novels that have found a rabid fanbase in Norway and around the world. The long-running series starring anti-hero police investigator Harry Hole has been translated into over 50 languages.
The series is now a cash cow, with new releases virtually guaranteed to be a bestseller. In June 2019, Nesbø published Knife (Knife), the 12th book in the Harry Hole detective series. The book quickly went to number one in Norway and the UK, playing a big part in Nesbø’s 2019 bumper.
The Global Appeal of Nordic Noir
Most critics associate the development of modern Scandinavian detective fiction with Swedish authors Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, who together wrote ten novels about police investigator Martin Beck in the 1960s and 1970s. They introduced a strong sense of membership and a thick layer of social criticism in the story, characteristics that have defined the genre.
Nesbø’s work has been praised for expanding the crime genre with psychological insight and a globalized perspective. While critics point to its alcoholic, anti-hero police investigator as a tired trope, Nesbø was one of the writers responsible for popularizing the trope in the first place.
Despite the wealth, Nesbø remains anchored
In a TV2 interview last year, Nesbø said the money “doesn’t mean much anymore” after realizing it was enough to live his life the way he wanted.
Nesbø usually spends a few months each year climbing in Thailand and also continues to play guitar and sing in the Norwegian band. Di Derrefounded in 1992. This was five years before the release of Nesbø’s first Harry Hole novel Flaggermusmannenwhich was published in English as The bat in 2012.
Born in Oslo and raised in Molde, Nesbø’s writing prowess may never have seen the light of day. A promising football career with reigning Norwegian champions Molde was not cut short by a knee injury at the age of 18.